I just finished reading The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, which was kinda cool because it was mostly about forgetting your name and turning into a bicycle, which isn’t dissimilar from some of my own Saturday nights. I like how some literary types aren’t afraid to spazz out and write some nonsense every so often. And Lost viewers will be able to tell you how the strategic placement of The Third Policeman in an early-ish episode gave the dedicated few a heads up to the island’s future time travel. Or should that be past?
Anyways, I’m not hear to talk about Lost. (Although it must be said I’m glad that Juliet’s taken her weird trout face down a hole and blown it up, for everyone’s sake.) I have to come clean because I missed out large portions of The Third Policeman because, frankly, O’Brien was taking the piss with his footnotes. One of them is like, a thousand words or more, and it carries across four pages. Seriously, you thought a footnote was the most appropriate way to communicate that stuff? About how this made-up philosopher scientist dude thought the world was shaped like a sausage and night-time was made by volcanoes? It’s not that I’m not interested in these theories (you only need to spend a couple of hours in the company of myself and a bottle of red wine to know I absolutely 100% totally want to hear about how the earth is a sausage - it would cure third world famine for a start), but how am I supposed to follow the thread of the story about the dudes turning into bicycles if you drag me off to some epic footnote about scientific theory for twenty pages? I am from the internet generation dude; my concentration span can only just cope with Twitter.
So yeah, Mr Flann O’Brien, (I know you died in 1966 and everything but I’ve just read your book so I know all about how time is screwed and we’re all bikes anyway) can you please make sure you put all the good bits into the proper story next time? Nice one.
On a related note, I’m now reading Generation X by Douglas Coupland, and he puts definitions in as footnotes. This is totally allowed because the longest one so far has been about fifteen words and how else am I supposed to know what ‘historical underdosing’ means?
When a man lets things go so far that he is half or more than half a bicycle, you will not see so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones. Of course there are other things connected with ladies and ladies’ bicycles that I will mention to you separately some time.From The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. Sergeant Pluck explains the perils of spending too much time riding your bike.